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FISC Singapore Detachment Supports Airliner Recovery Mission

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070207-21
Release Date: 2/7/2007 2:46:00 PM

By Bill Doughty, U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka

JAKARTA, Indonesia (NNS) -- Postal Clerk 1st Class Mark Bettencourt of U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka’s Singapore Detachment (FISC Det. Singapore) played a crucial role Jan. 20 in the location of a missing Indonesian Airliner, Adam Air Flight KI 574, which crashed into waters off of Makassar, Indonesia, on New Year's Day.

Bettencourt, petty officer in charge of the fleet support office in Jakarta, served as an intermediary between the husbanding agent, equipment contractors, Indonesian officials, and the crew of USNS Mary Sears (T-AGS 65), a Military Sealift Command oceanographic survey ship.

On Jan. 16 U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia B. Lynn Pascoe requested the Navy assist the Indonesian government in locating the missing aircraft.

FISC Det. Singapore arranged for contracting of equipment and services. Bettencourt immediately traveled from Jakarta to Makassar and coordinated the receipt of mission essential equipment, including heavy winches and power units.

Bettencourt facilitated customs clearance for the gear, coordinated with the Air Force, expedited passport processing for incoming Phoenix contractors, and assisted directly with the transport of equipment to Mary Sears.

“We worked with the ship’s master, chief mate, NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command) husbanding agent, and Phoenix representatives, as well as Indonesian officials,” said Bettencourt.

“On Jan. 18 we coordinated equipment placement, welding, and testing of equipment,” he added. “Several meetings were held throughout the day to determine readiness.”

The next day Mary Sears got underway. Two days later, thanks to the equipment that Bettencourt had helped secure for the ship, the team found the pinger signal of the aircraft’s black box.

“Bettencourt was right in the middle of this operation,” said Lt. Michael Lang, assistant officer in charge of FISC Det. Singapore.

“There are many logistics concerns that go on behind the scenes,” he added. "Without Bettencourt there to assist the divers and salvage teams, it wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.”

Bettencourt has previously been involved in tsunami, earthquake, and volcano relief missions in the region, and he supported the Mercy on its extended humanitarian relief mission last year.

“We have had opportunity after opportunity to show our country’s good will in this Pacific partnership,” said Lang.

During the first week of February, the FISC’s fleet support office in Jakarta has helped local Indonesian communities, through the American Embassy, in dealing with a devastating flood that killed dozens and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

“We’re helping with charitable donations, assisting and donating in the Embassy-sponsored blood drive, and providing assistance when needed,” said Bettencourt. “The waters are starting to recede, but the rainy season will continue until March traditionally.”

FISC Yokosuka, including its detachments, sites and fleet support offices, provides direct fleet support for forward-deployed naval units throughout the western Pacific as part of Commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers and Naval Supply Systems Command.

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